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Safety and environmental issues of fusion reactors

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2 Author(s)
Crocker, J.G. ; EG&G Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls, ID ; Holland, D.F.

This paper reviews the safety and environmental issues associated with magnetic fusion reactors and discusses approaches to reduce or eliminate related concerns. The radioactive material in a fusion reactor includes tritium, burned as a fuel, and activation products produced by neutrons from the fusion reactions. Ensuring that these materials will not affect the public requires a strategy to minimize inventories, develop adequate containment and control, and eliminate potential release mechanisms. The accident with the greatest potential for a large radioactive release is a lithium fire. Less active forms of lithium, under consideration for use in fusion reactors, would eliminate this concern. Potential energy releases from large magnet systems, and the health effects of long-term exposure to magnetic fields are also concerns. Fusion power has attractive safety and environmental features and addressing safety issues early in the development program should result in an abundant source of power with risks that are understood and acceptable to the public.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:69 ,  Issue: 8 )